We stayed here for two of our four nights in Sri Lanka as part of our visit to the Cultural Triangle. They provided free accommodation for our guide/driver.
We had been expecting a quality and tranquil experience, as many TA reviews had been positive, and certainly the price was high by Sri Lankan standards.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon to be greeted by loud music being played in the communal area near the main swimming pool. The receptionist commented “we have families that come out from Colombo for the day to use the facilities and ‘enjoy’ the entertainment”. Together with the noise of kids around the pool, it certainly drowned out the sounds of wildlife that we had been looking forward to.
Our room was a long walk away, which perhaps was a blessing in disguise. It had a balcony, which we shared with monkeys in the morning. In the main, the room was fine, although rather dark. However, we did not expect a large Jacuzzi in the bathroom of this so-called “Eco friendly” hotel – a contradiction in terms!
We went to the bar for a drink. This was in the midst of the Cricket World Cup, and the walls had been tackily ‘decorated’ with large paper flags of the participating countries, with cricket pads on either side of the bar. The loud TV cricket commentary dominated the scene here. The cocktails we ordered were badly mixed.
Then on to dinner. The buffet restaurant was packed with large European tour groups on both evenings. We estimated that private guests amounted to less than 10% of the diners. The food was of the blandest “to suit western palates” cuisine. Service, though, was attentive.
On checking out, we were competing for porters with 3-4 coach loads of package deal guests, so we carried our own cases about 300 metres to the reception, having been hassled by a persistent “need to check the mini bar” person as we were getting ready.
All in all, we really did not enjoy our stay here. The location was nice enough, we would have enjoyed the environment and abounding wildlife – but sadly the atmosphere was not convivial. We also met a couple at our next hotel, whose opinions were similar to ours about their stay here. Of our 120+ hotel reviews in TA, this was one of the worst.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Heritance Kandalama is shaped like the outspread wings of a bird, following the line of the cliff from which it seems to emerge. The hotel is a staggering 1km from end to end, and rises up seven floors, yet appears to be a perfectly natural extension of the mountainside. The flat roof and timber pillars support a screen of vegetation that attracts local wildlife. The abundance of real-life animals around the hotel is complemented by wonderful large-scale sculptures within it. A metal owl is suspended outside the main restaurant; wooden elephants inhabit the lounge; a stone cobra uncoils along the terrace overlooking the infinity pool. However, while focusing on highlighting its enchanting natural surroundings, our luxury resort in Sri Lanka gives priority to providing its guests with the finest comforts and service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kandalama Hotel Sri Lanka
- Hotel Heritance Kandalama
- Heritance Kandalama Dambulla
- Kandalama Hotel Dambulla